Lung volume reduction (LVR) techniques improve lung function in selected patients with emphysema, but the impact of LVR procedures on the asynchronous movement of different chest wall compartments, which is a feature of emphysema, is not known.
We used optoelectronic plethysmography to assess the effect of surgical and bronchoscopic LVR on chest wall asynchrony. Twenty-six patients were assessed before and 3 months after LVR (surgical [n = 9] or bronchoscopic [n = 7]) or a sham/unsuccessful bronchoscopic treatment (control subjects, n = 10). Chest wall volumes were divided into six compartments (left and right of each of pulmonary ribcage [Vrc,p], abdominal ribcage [Vrc,a], and abdomen [Vab]) and phase shift angles (θ) calculated for the asynchrony between Vrc,p and Vrc,a (θRC), and between Vrc,a and Vab (θDIA).
Participants had an FEV1 of 34.6 ± 18% predicted and a residual volume of 217.8 ± 46.0% predicted with significant chest wall asynchrony during quiet breathing at baseline (θRC, 31.3° ± 38.4°; and θDIA, −38.7° ± 36.3°). Between-group difference in the change in θRC and θDIA during quiet breathing following treatment was 44.3° (95% CI, −78 to −10.6; P = .003) and 34.5° (95% CI, 1.4 to 67.5; P = .007) toward 0° (representing perfect synchrony), respectively, favoring the LVR group. Changes in θRC and θDIA were statistically significant on the treated but not the untreated sides.
Successful LVR significantly reduces chest wall asynchrony in patients with emphysema.